Erik Weihenmayer

Erik Weihenmayer could have been remembered as just "the blind kid." Instead, he’s a hero. Erik was born in 1968 with a rare eye disease called retinoschisis. It progressed into glaucoma, and by age 13 Erik was totally blind. Erik’s father, Ed Weihenmayer, encouraged Erik to challenge the ideas of what a blind person can and cannot do. Ed took Erik and his brother hiking often and sent Erik to adventure camps for blind youth where he learned to mountain climb. The seeds were planted early for a life of exploration and adventure.

As Erik learned the ins and outs of classroom control, he continued learning how to master his own movement in nature. In 1991 Erik trekked in the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan. In 1993 he crossed the Batura Glacier in the Karakoram Mountains of Northern Pakistan. The same year he joined the staff at Phoenix Country Day School as an instructor.

In 1995 the world was introduced to Erik when he attempted Mt. McKinley, North America’s highest peak. Sponsored by the American Foundation for the Blind, Erik reached the 20,320’ summit. 2 years later Erik climbed his second continental summit, Kilimanjaro. He said "I do," in a marriage ceremony at 13,000’. Besides his wife, climbing is Erik’s greatest passion. However, always eager to test himself, Erik is also a certified sky and scuba diver.

Last year Erik attempted Argentina’s Mt. Aconcagua. Poor weather conditions forced his team to turn around just short of the summit. This January, he again attempted the highest peak outside of Asia. The Glaucoma Research Foundation sponsored his "Vision to Succeed," and this time he made it!

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